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  • Writer's pictureNick Petrie

Focus More on Range than Stage

Leaders love vertical stage assessments. Most leaders have done many 360-degree assessments, so they are enthused to experience something new and different. However, one concern that some have is about ‘what stage’ they will be assessed at. I feel this is a problem we have created for ourselves. Facilitators and coaches are often talking about people being AT a stage of development. While leaders have a center of gravity from which they are most comfortable operating from, in the real world the best leaders operate from many different stages depending on the situation.

The best leaders I observe are not the ones ‘at’ the highest stage, but the ones who have the most range and the most skill at each.

Range – how many stages you have access to. Since later stage leaders have developed through more stages they have the potential to move between many different mindsets.

Skill – how good you are at leveraging each stage. Whether you have the ability and confidence to effectively lead from various altitudes depending on what the situation calls for.

Many leaders don’t exhibit much range. They have not grown beyond the Achiever stage, so the solution is always to work harder and get everyone else to do the same.

In contrast, leaders with high Range x Skill adjust their approach and mindset depending on what their context calls for. For example:

Leaders love the idea of range because it doesn’t put them in ‘a box’ and is much closer to their lived experience. In my own life, it has freed me up from thinking that I only operate from one stage and instead motivated me to increase my skill at all of them.

Reflection Question:

How does the idea of Range fit with your personal experience or your observations of leaders?

The above is an excerpt from my upcoming whitepaper: 7 Lessons in Vertical Leadership Development.

To speak to Nick about bringing vertical leadership development into your organization send a linkedin message or email


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